Pirates start fast, hold off Cougars, 7-3

Pirates start fast, hold off Cougars, 7-3

COSTA MESA -- A five-run first inning was all that was needed for the Orange Coast College baseball team as the Pirates snapped a four-game home losing streak with a 7-3 win over College of the Canyons on Saturday at Wendell Pickens Field.

Chris Ceballos and Ulises Caballero each had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates (7-7), while the pitching foursome of Cameron Jabara (1-0), McKinley LeFore, Sam Eggenburg and Josh Berman held the Cougars to three runs on six hits with six strikeouts.

Coast got things going right away with a leadoff walk by Skylar Limonchi and a hit-by-pitch by Coby Kauhaahaa. Both scored on RBI-singles by Domenic Donato and Ceballos, giving Coast a 2-0 lead. Josh Berman walked and Ramiro Velasco used a misplayed liner and drove in OCC's third run of the game. 

The Pirates plated two more runs with the help of two COC errors, ending the 11-batter inning with a 5-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the third, Caballero singled to lead things off and eventually scored when Kauhaahaa ripped an RBI-double down the left-field line to put the Pirates up, 4-0.

In the fourth, another Cougars' error helped plate another unearned run as Caballero drove in Velasco to make it 7-0. In all, Canyons allowed seven runs, but only four were earned throughout the afternoon and reliever Chase Morcoe pitched 4 1/3 innings of strong relief, allowing just one hit and three strikeouts.

Morcoe's strong efforts allowed Canyons to creep back into the game as a three-run fifth made it 7-3 in favor of the Pirates.

But Eggenburg cooled off any more Cougar momentum with three strong innings of relief, holding Canyons scoreless on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts. Closer Josh Berman didn't earn a save, but he shut down Cougars in the ninth to finish things off. 

Jabara, who made his season debut on Saturday after going 6-1 for the Pirates last year, pitched three strong innings in a controlled start. The sophomore righty allowed one hit, two walks and two strikeouts in a 42-pitch performance.

The Pirates will play at College of the Canyons on Tuesday, beginning at 2 p.m. OCC's next home game will be on Thursday, March 8 against Santa Ana, also at 2 p.m.